Curle disappointed Cobblers didn't make Derby 'squeal' more in FA Cup defeat
Town chief proud but tinged with frustration despite valiant effort at Pride Park
Boss Keith Curle admitted his pride at Tuesday's spirited FA Cup defeat against Derby County was mixed with an element of frustration because Cobblers didn't make their esteemed opponents 'squeal' enough.
Town had plenty to be proud of despite falling to a 4-2 defeat as goals from Andre Wisdom, Duane Holmes, Wayne Rooney and Jack Marriott took Derby through to face Manchester United in round five.
But whilst Curle was obviously proud of both the efforts of his players and the 4,500 vocal fans at Pride Park, he couldn't hide the fact he felt his side made life a little bit too comfortable for the Championship outfit.
"The support was phenomenal and it was very appreciated by myself, my staff and the players," said Curle afterwards
"But I've got to say in the first-half I didn't think we turned it into a cup tie enough.
"We needed to get half a yard closer to them and upset their rhythm. It might sound a little bit old school but we needed to lay a glove on a few of them.
"Otherwise you can get a little bit spellbound because they pass and move the ball very, very well and once they get into their passing rhythm, their movement and their options can make it difficult for you.
"When you're playing against good players, sometimes you need to slow them down a little bit."
Having been second best in the first-half, Cobblers came out with more urgency and intent after half-time and were given a lifeline by Nicky Adams' well-worked goal just two minutes in.
However, despite Sam Hoskins netting a late penalty, Derby just had too much class in the end and were deserving winners.
"We needed to make it more of a cup tie earlier and make them squeal a little bit," added Curle. "A couple of times we did that and then they start looking for you and it takes them out of their comfort zone.
"Because once they get into their rhythm, they've got good players with good rotation and good movement and it stretched us at times.
"It comes back to people doing their jobs but it's an excellent reminder for ourselves that we have to get on the front foot at the start of games and keep doing it.